Hip-hop artists and celebrities react to Phife Dawg's death

The music world lost a hip-hop pioneer on Wednesday

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The Independent Online

Phife Dawg, the co-founder of A Tribe Called Quest, passed away at the age of 45 on Wednesday.

Born Malik Taylor, the Queens, New York native formed the group with Q-Tip back in 1988. Just two years later Phife was diagnosed with diabetes and recieved a kidney transplant in 2008. Although the cause of his death has not yet been determined, reports speculate that Phife had succumed to his longstanding health issues.

Shortly after his death was confirmed by Statik Selekta, hip-hop artists and musicians expressed their condolences on social media.


Phife forever 1970-2016. 1991 in Sept I went to visit Tariq at Millersville U in the middle of PA (Lancaster). Miles Davis had just passed & I went on a binge to study his post jazz works. Went to Sound Of Market to purchase Nefertiti, In A Silent Way & Live Evil---the only non jazz purchase I made that day ironically was the most jazziest album in that collection: #TheLowEndTheory by @ATCQ. ---it was raining that day so somehow the 1...2 punch of "Nefertiti"/"Fall" just had me in a trance that train trip---even though I suspected there was a possibility that Tribe could possibly have made a better album then their debut (the perfect @@@@@ mic Source rating would be on stands in a week so I was right)---but I knew I wanted to save that listening for when I got up to the campus w Riq.---so some 90mins later when I get to his dorm--we ripped that bad boy open (I can't describe the frustration that was CD packaging in 1991, just imagine the anger that environmentalists feel when all that paper packaging in Beats headphone gets wasted---it's like that)---the sign of a true classic is when a life memory is burnt in your head because of the first time you hear a song. ---Riq & I had this moment a few times, but the look on our faces when we 1st heard "Buggin Out" was prolly Me & Tariq's greatest "rewind selector!" moment in our friendship. (Back then every MC's goal was to have that "rewind!!!" moment. As in to say something so incredible. Or to catch you by surprise that it makes you go "DAAAAAYUM!!!"& you listen over & over---Malik "Phife" Taylor's verse was such a gauntlet/flag planting moment in hip hop. Every hip hop head was just...stunned HE. CAME. FOR. BLOOD & was taking NO prisoners on this album (or ever again) we just kept looking at the speaker on some disbelief old timey radio Suspense episode. & also at each other "Phife is KILLIN!"--by the time we got to "Scenario" I swear to god THAT was the moment I knew I wanted to make THIS type of music when I grew up--(yeah yeah dad I know: "go to Juilliard or Curtis to make a nice living at "real music") but he didn't know that Phife & his crew already wrote my destiny. I ain't look back since. THANK YOU PHIFE!

A photo posted by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on


Celebrities outside of the music industry also expressed their condolences online, proving the wide range of influence Phife's work had on his fans.

#ripphifedawg gone but never forgotten.

Posted by Victor Cruz on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I can't think of anybody #young or #old who doesn't love #ATribeCalledQuest Their raps were #conscious #witty and #fun They gave us #HipHop without #violence and actually rapped about being NICE to girls which is a BIG deal when you think you think about how #rap has evolved and further influences the current state of #popular music. Today I learned one of the founding members of A #TribeCalledQuest has passed on. At first I was #sad but then I thought about all the #joy he brought to #music and how much joy he brought to the group's quirky music videos. Even my #grandma liked #PhifeDawg and used to talk about how she "left her wallet in El Segundo" whenever she thought of the Tribe #song of the same name. Rest in Peace, Phife. You were a #gentleman and a #legend #YouOnPointTip #AllTheTimePhife

A video posted by Kali Hawk (@kalihawk) on